No easy task play­ing goal for Cana­di­ens

Rookie Lindgren stops 23 of 25 shots, but team­mates have trouble scor­ing

Montreal Gazette - - SPORTS - STU COWAN scowan@post­media.com twit­ter.com/ StuCowan1

Char­lie Lindgren is quickly learn­ing there isn’t much room for er­ror when you’re a goalie with the Cana­di­ens.

The rookie stopped 23 of 25 shots Tues­day night at the Bell Cen­tre, but it wasn’t enough as the Cana­di­ens lost 2-1 to the Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets on an over­time goal by Zach Weren­ski.

Josh An­der­son scored for the Blue Jack­ets in the first pe­riod and Paul By­ron replied for the Cana­di­ens in the third.

It marked the fourth time in 19 games this sea­son that the Cana­di­ens (8-9-2) have scored only one goal, and they have been shut out three times. Lindgren has not al­lowed more than two goals in any of the five games he has played in place of the in­jured Carey Price and his record is 3-1-1 with a 1.39 goals-against av­er­age and .957 save per­cent­age.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Cana­di­ens, Lindgren can’t score.

It didn’t help that the Cana­di­ens had to play with seven de­fence­men against the Blue Jack­ets af­ter for­ward Tor­rey Mitchell was a last­minute scratch with the flu, and Art­turi Lehko­nen was al­ready out with a lower-body in­jury.

It was too late to call up a for­ward from the AHL’s Laval Rocket, so coach Claude Julien de­cided to play rookie de­fence­man Vic­tor Mete as a left-winger on the fourth line with Ja­cob De La Rose at cen­tre and By­ron Froese on the right.

Mete fed De La Rose a per­fect pass in front of the Colum­bus net in the first pe­riod, but he couldn’t beat goalie Sergei Bo­brovsky, who stopped 28 of 29 shots.

“He did a good job,” Julien said of the 19-year-old Mete.

“I had talked to him al­ready and he said he had played there be­fore at times with his ju­nior team in London. He ac­tu­ally said: ‘They put me at cen­tre ev­ery once in a while when they wanted some speed.’ So I told him: ‘Cen­tre’s not go­ing to hap­pen, but I can put you on the wing.’

“He skated well,” Julien added. “He made a great play there that one time in the first pe­riod for a scor­ing chance, so I thought he bailed us out re­ally well.”

Af­ter the game, the Cana­di­ens an­nounced Lehko­nen will be out in­def­i­nitely.

“It’s some­thing he’s been play­ing with for a while, and he’s done a good job of play­ing with that in­jury,” Julien said about Lehko­nen, who had 2-3-5 to­tals in 18 games. “But it’s com­ing to the point where it was un­bear­able and we needed to shut him down. If we want him

Ev­ery time I’m in there, it’s an­other great op­por­tu­nity and I want to make the most of it.

to be bet­ter, we had to shut him down. So, it was the right move to make, I guess, at this time. Give him credit, he tried his best to play through it. Right now, we don’t know how long, so he’s out in­def­i­nitely.”

It looks like Lindgren will be the Cana­di­ens’ No. 1 goalie for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod af­ter Price an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing that his lower-body in­jury isn’t get­ting any bet­ter.

The Cana­di­ens claimed vet­eran goalie Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Pan­thers on Tues­day and re­turned Zach Fu­cale to the AHL Rocket af­ter the game.

“If you look at the big pic­ture, I know be­fore the game the nerves def­i­nitely aren’t what they were at the be­gin­ning,” Lindgren said about get­ting more com­fort­able in the NHL.

“So def­i­nitely, I feel like I’m re­ally set­tling in and feel­ing re­ally good ev­ery game.

“I don’t feel tired or men­tally tired at all. Ev­ery time I’m in there, it’s an­other great op­por­tu­nity and I want to make the most of it.”

If only he could score.

ALLEN MCIN­NIS

Cana­di­ens for­ward Paul By­ron watches the puck sail past Blue Jack­ets goalie Sergei Bo­brovsky to tie the game in the third pe­riod Tues­day night. Un­for­tu­nately, By­ron’s late ef­fort wasn’t enough as the Habs, for the fourth time in 19 games this sea­son, failed to score more than a sin­gle goal in a game and lost 2-1 in over­time.

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